Seller Onboarding: Steps to Create The Best Onboarding Process for Your Marketplace

Seller Onboarding: Steps to Create Onboarding Process

Onboarding is an essential part of any business. It is a process that ensures the successful integration of new employees, contractors, or vendors into the company. Seller onboarding is the process of introducing a new seller to the company, its culture, and processes. 

Seller onboarding involves collecting and verifying data from sellers, setting up accounts, and providing them with the necessary information to start selling on the platform. Additionally, seller onboarding requires collecting information such as contact details, payment information, product catalogs, and more. This guide provides advanced strategies to help sellers through the onboarding process. 

What Is Seller Onboarding?

Seller onboarding is the process of introducing and acclimating new sellers to the marketplace. It is a vital part of the onboarding process and is designed to ensure that the new sellers understand the marketplace’s policies, procedures, and expectations. The goal of seller onboarding is to make it easy for sellers to join the marketplace and quickly get up to speed. This can be done through a combination of onboarding materials, tutorials, and training sessions.

What Is Marketplace Seller Onboarding?

Marketplace seller onboarding is a specialized version of seller onboarding that helps new sellers understand the unique dynamics of a marketplace environment. Marketplace sellers are different from traditional retailers because they have to compete with other sellers on the marketplace for the same customers. As a result, they need to understand the marketplace’s rules and regulations and how to best position themselves to be successful. 

Why “Seller” is Different from Supplier, Vendor and Merchant

A seller is an individual or business who offers products or services for sale. The term “seller” is often used interchangeably with “supplier”, “vendor”, and “merchant”, however, there is a distinction between the four. A supplier is someone who provides goods or services to a marketplace. A vendor is someone who sells goods or services directly to a customer. A merchant is someone who sells goods or services in a physical location. 

Why Is It So Important to Onboard Sellers the Best Way?

Onboarding sellers the right way is important because it is the first impression that new sellers will have of the marketplace. It sets the tone for their experience and can have a major impact on the success of their business. If the onboarding process is confusing, time-consuming, or not tailored to the needs of the seller, it could lead to them abandoning the marketplace before they even get started. On the other hand, if the onboarding process is well-designed and efficient, it can give the seller a great first impression and inspire them to stay and build a successful business on the marketplace. 

The 4 Best Seller Onboarding Examples of the Market

1. Amazon

Amazon is a great example of seller onboarding done right. They have a comprehensive set of onboarding materials and tutorials that cover everything the seller needs to know in order to get started. They also offer a wide range of support services, such as customer service and technical support, to ensure the seller’s success.

2. eBay

eBay is another great example of seller onboarding. They have a thorough onboarding process that covers everything from setting up a seller account to listing items and managing transactions. They also offer a wide range of support services, such as eBay University and Seller Support, to help sellers get off to a good start.

3. Etsy

Etsy’s onboarding process is focused on helping new sellers quickly get up to speed. They have a comprehensive set of tutorials and FAQs, as well as a dedicated team of onboarding specialists to answer questions. They also have a Seller Handbook that covers everything the seller needs to know.

4. Shopify

Shopify’s onboarding process is designed to be quick and easy. They have a wide range of tutorials and FAQs, as well as a dedicated team of onboarding specialists to answer questions. They also have a set of onboarding materials that cover topics such as product photography, setting up shop, and more.

Steps to Create a Great Onboarding Process for Your Marketplace

Seller onboarding requires careful planning and preparation. The following steps outline the process for successful seller onboarding:

1. Establish a goal and timeline

The first step in the seller onboarding process is to establish a goal and timeline. This should include an understanding of the seller’s desired outcome and the timeline for achieving it. It is important to be realistic when setting goals and timelines, as they will guide the onboarding process and determine its success.

2. Communicate expectations

It is important to establish clear expectations for the seller, and to communicate these expectations to the seller in a timely manner. This includes providing the seller with detailed information about the company and its products, as well as the policies and procedures they will need to follow.

3. Create an onboarding plan

The next step is to develop an onboarding plan. This plan should include a timeline of events, activities, and milestones that need to be completed by the seller. It should also include a copy of the company’s policies and procedures, as well as information about the products and services offered.

4. Set up a training program

The onboarding plan should also include a training program for the seller. This program should be tailored to the seller’s needs and should include hands-on activities and demonstrations to help the seller gain a better understanding of the company and its products.

5. Provide support

Seller onboarding should also include a plan for providing support to the seller. This can include setting up a support group, providing one-on-one mentoring, or offering online resources. It is important to ensure that the seller has access to the resources they need to be successful.

6. Monitor progress

The final step in the seller onboarding process is to monitor the seller’s progress. This includes tracking the seller’s progress against the timeline, as well as providing feedback on their performance. This will help ensure that the seller is meeting their goals and that the onboarding process is successful.

How Cluster Can Help Sellers Onboarding

Leading marketplaces can fix seller abandonment by building a best-in-class product data catalog that takes the onboarding burden off sellers. With Cluster, marketplaces can offer complete and automatic product listings to create a frictionless onboarding experience.Cluster simplifies the onboarding process, making it easier and faster. Book a meeting now.

CEO Chat on Changing the Product Data Catalog Ownership Story

CEO Chat on Changing the Product Data Catalog Ownership Story - Ori Greenberg

For eCommerce marketplaces, it’s always the same story: they rely on sellers to provide complete and accurate product data, but what if changing ownership were a possibility? What if marketplaces actually owned their own product catalog data and took the reliance off of seller inputs, while still being able to provide accurate product information for consumers? 

There are many roadblocks typically that prevent marketplace enterprises from achieving this outcome, but it is not an impossible feat. That’s why we caught up with Cluster CEO Ori Greenberg, in an interview to talk about the challenges, opportunities, and best practices for driving this industry to change. By transferring ownership of product catalog data from sellers onto marketplaces – success becomes possible for all parties involved, and below we dive into how and why. 

Q: Who owns the product data catalog today in the eCommerce market and why? Is this the standard for most marketplaces? 

GREENBERG: In the eCommerce marketplace landscape it always tends to be the same story. A marketplace starts by relying on sellers or merchants to provide product data, but quickly realizes it is a mess: 

  • The data is insufficient, and not normalized
  • The marketplace catalog experience is bad for consumers.
  • The marketplace catalog is underperforming in SEO and marketing in general.
  • It is actually hard for sellers to list items and causes friction, sending 50% of them to abandon the onboarding process.

However, owning the product data catalog makes so much sense. The sellers can help, but the marketplace must own the process, the guidelines and the standards – to help your sellers comply with those standards.

And if you’re thinking this is not possible, this has been done successfully by enterprises like Amazon’s marketplace, and Google Shopping – and in looking at those examples, the results are clear. That being said, no one has the breadth that Amazon and Google have by themselves – and that’s why Cluster was created.

Q: What does the ideal marketplace product data catalog look like?

GREENBERG: The ideal marketplace product data catalog should be: 

  • Rich with structured product data.
  • Detailed in taxonomy.
  • Inviting, filterable and pleasant in every way.

Q: What is the best practice when it comes to ownership of the product catalog data?

GREENBERG: As mentioned earlier, marketplaces should own the catalog onboarding process, guidelines, and standards – and marketplaces need to help their sellers and merchants comply with those guidelines. 

Q: Why is it so essential to follow these best practices?

GREENBERG: Loosening the rules on product data catalog ownership can cause a mess that spills into other business aspects across the board, and result in poor customer experience, bad seller experience, and poor performance overall.

Q: What are the roadblocks that keep marketplaces from gaining ownership of their product catalog data?

GREENBERG: Gaining ownership of your product catalog data is hard to set up, and taking the first steps can be difficult. You’ll ask yourself why would the sellers go through all the trouble to onboard their product information, and how do I even decide what to ask from them? 

The reality is that it is a lot easier just to tell people, “Here you go – a platform – now just list your products! We’ll use Machine Learning and AI in the future to make sense of what you write!” And then you find out you can’t accomplish this, and the technology just isn’t there – but it’s too late. And, changing your practice becomes even more difficult. 

Q: How can marketplaces work with sellers to create a mutually beneficial catalog onboarding process?

GREENBERG: First, marketplaces need to realize what data they need in order to provide a good customer experience and a frictionless seller experience. Next, help the existing sellers by adjusting their current catalog data. Provide clear guidelines on what is needed moving forward, and proactively help them provide the required catalog data. Examples of how to do this include: 

  1. Pre-build a product data catalog. Start with top-of-mind categories,
  2. Match existing items with the ones in the pre-defined catalog.
  3. Provide matching tools for new products added to the catalog.
  4. Enhance items that are not in that pre-defined catalog on the fly using advanced tools and third-party data providers like Cluster.

Q: How does Cluster help?

GREENBERG: Cluster is an eCommerce data provider that solves for creating a superior online shopping experience through quality catalog and product data for marketplaces and online enterprises (including adjacent markets like eRetail, brands, and financial institutions).

When marketplaces do not have a complete understanding of their product variants, they can oftentimes end up with duplicate listings, which confuses shoppers and in turn, sends them to competitor sites. Building a quality product data catalog is a challenge, but Cluster can identify, validate and enhance product data by matching duplicate products, so inaccurate information doesn’t find its way in front of your shoppers.

Q: What does the future of eCommerce marketplace data look like? 

GREENBERG: No new marketplace can provide an Amazon-like experience, which consumers are now expecting, from the get-go without requiring any help. From the product data catalog to the fulfillment of orders, marketplaces will need to partner with industry-leading vendors to get ahead of the game.

Mutual Marketplace and Merchant Benefits

Changing the script of a story (especially in the middle) is not an easy task, but the results can make for a much happier ending. In this case, restarting can seem daunting but the mutually beneficial results for merchants, marketplaces, and ultimately consumers, can make a major impact on success. Talk with a Cluster expert today and see how our game-changing insights can work for you. 


FUN FACTS

Little-Known Fact: 

When time allows, I love to geek out with customers’ data. Even if the customer didn’t ask for anything, I love finding trends, data gaps, assortment gaps, and insights in general that are intriguing. Usually, I keep it to myself, but sometimes I can’t help but share it with the customer/account owner. 

Quotes to Live By: 

Be kind.

Favorite Marketplace:

For basic purchases, Amazon and Walmart. For fun, spontaneous or emotional purchases: Facebook Marketplace. I love the sustainability aspect, plus the fact I can ‘Uber’ a product my way in 20 minutes!

Favorite Snack:

Coffee.

Describe Cluster in 5 Words: 

  1. Comprehensive
  2. Granular
  3. Accurate
  4. Unique
  5. Insightful

Assortment Optimization: Why It Is Important For Your eCommerce Business

Assortment Optimization

When it comes to maximizing the potential revenue of your eCommerce business, few things can be more valuable than assortment optimization. The right mix of products can make all the difference in helping control your business costs, while also maintaining your appeal with customers.

Sound assortment planning is especially valuable in today’s environment, when supply chain issues continue to disrupt operations for many products and industries across the globe.

Here’s a closer look at how product assortment optimization can help your eCommerce business or marketplace thrive — and how today’s technology makes assortment planning easier than ever.

What Is Assortment Optimization?

In its most basic sense, product assortment optimization is the process in which an eCommerce business or marketplace decides which products it should offer to shoppers. This mix of goods is strategically selected based on customer preferences to maximize the store’s revenue.

Finding the optimal assortment generally focuses on two main types of products: fast-moving goods that sell at higher quantities but deliver a lower profit margin per item sold (like clothing), and higher-end goods that sell slower but have a higher profit margin (such as electronics). 

Successful eCommerce marketplaces generally build their merchandise assortment strategy with these two broad types of products in mind, as this ensures the most consistent flow of revenue from their customer base.

Why You Should Use Assortment Gap Analysis

While assortment optimization may sound easy, the reality is far different. It is all too easy to develop an inadequate product mix that doesn’t offer enough variety to keep customers engaged. In some cases, a lack of alternative products can result in lost sales if an item goes out of stock due to supply chain issues or other factors. For other products, SKUs that are too similar to each other can ultimately cannibalize sales.

A recent analysis by Pimcy determined that while product failure rates aren’t the staggering 95% reported by some sources, at least 40% of new product launches could be considered a failure. In their analysis, they also noted that “a distinction in failure rates can be made across the various types of innovation: incremental innovation, more innovative development, and radical innovation. […] The failure rate increases the more innovative the solution is. However, on the upside, there also is the potential for a bigger return.”

Whether the product is something completely new or simply an improved version of a product that is already on the market, there is never a guarantee that it will be a success. This is especially true in the competitive world of eCommerce, where new marketplaces often struggle to thrive against more established competition.

Despite these sobering statistics, customers are often interested in trying something new, particularly in product categories like clothing or jewelry. Part of what keeps them coming back to an eCommerce business is the promise that it will have something new for them to try — be it a new T-shirt design, improved backpacking gear, or something else entirely.

Because of this, assortment optimization is an ongoing process. It can’t be a “one and done” activity. Customer preferences, supply chain factors, the introduction of new products and the discontinuation of old products means the product mix may be constantly changing. An assortment gap analysis must be performed regularly to ensure your business is introducing new products that will connect with customers — and removing products that are no longer making a profit.

Why the Time Is Now For Better Assortment Planning

With more competition thanks to the rising popularity of digital shopping, eCommerce businesses and marketplaces must prioritize assortment optimization like never before. Understanding which items are missing from your catalogs can make all the difference — and fortunately, this process no longer needs to be left to guesswork.

Running an assortment gap analysis helps your business determine best-selling products or categories from reputable sellers that should be added to the online store. Data-driven, AI-enabled tools use web scraping and other data retrieval methods to gather information on billions of products across multiple channels. 

eCommerce stores that use these solutions can download information on a relevant product category, retrieve GTINs for best-selling items and obtain product lists by seller. By running this assortment gap analysis, an eCommerce marketplace can ask its current sellers to onboard new items that have a proven record of successful sales on other channels. If this isn’t an option, an eCommerce marketplace could attempt to onboard new sellers who offer the desired products.

With quality information readily available through a data-driven assortment gap analysis, it has never been easier to access and utilize this data. Such information is crucial for staying ahead of your competitors — many of whom are using similar resources for their own assortment optimization efforts.

The Benefits of Assortment Optimization

A sound assortment optimization strategy offers several tangible benefits for eCommerce businesses. An assortment gap analysis can help your business understand the eCommerce landscape as a whole — including customer preferences and competitor behaviors. 

With this data, eCommerce businesses can do more than identify new options that can be added to their marketplace. They will be able to identify which mix of products will create a good blend of high-volume and high-profit sales that appeal to their target audience. They will also be better able to identify product lines that are declining in popularity and potentially reducing their profit margins.

This allows marketplaces to create a collaborative relationship with their sellers that focuses on creating win-win solutions. After all, by utilizing shopper insights and providing data-based product onboarding recommendations, marketplaces and sellers can increase their sales success. This creates an atmosphere of transparency and accountability that sees all parties involved better able to optimize their product lineup and take ownership of their results.

Collecting these insights in real time can also lead to more agile and flexible decision making. Quickly identifying trends can help your business mitigate supply chain concerns by adapting its product line based on seasonal changes or other trends. Rapidly pivoting your product assortment ensures you can always offer relevant items at any time of year.

By providing products that shoppers actually want, your eCommerce business can become the go-to online resource for your target audience. 

Strengthen Your Merchandise Assortment Strategy With Cluster

If you’re ready to strengthen your assortment planning processes, Cluster can help. Our Optimal Assortment services are designed to help both marketplaces and brands identify category gaps by assessing product data across channels. With full visibility across the entire eCommerce landscape, you can gain the insights you need to boost sales by presenting relevant, high-demand items to your customers. 

As you use assortment optimization to continually present shoppers with trending, best-selling products from trusted sellers, you will be able to accelerate sustainable growth that builds your reputation and keeps customers coming back time and time again.
With Cluster on your side, lasting marketplace success is closer than you think!

3 Product Page Data Enhancements to Win More Traffic

Product Page Data Enhancements

The eCommerce market is expected to surpass $52 trillion by 2027. That’s nearly 4 times as large as its 2021 value.

More customers mean more competitors. While eBay and then Amazon long dominated the eCommerce scene, the pandemic created a shift. With more time spent at home, consumers had more time to shop around.

Because of that, smaller eCommerce sites have more opportunities to make their mark. How can an online marketplace stand out amongst the growing competition?

The first step is retaining customers. The number one way to do that is product page enhancements.

That’s right, it’s not all about SEO! There’s no point ranking highly on a search engine if customers abandon or don’t even fill their carts. For long-lasting success, your product pages have to convert browsers through to purchase.

Then your site traffic and search engine rankings will organically increase. And your product pages will be optimized enough to sustain your success.

Here’s our guide to specific product page enhancements every marketplace should be making and why.

Improve Loading Speeds

As basic as it sounds, loading speeds can make or break organic traffic generation. If your site or your product images take a few moments to load, it can put users off completely. In fact, 53% of people expect a web page to load within 3 seconds

If it loads too slowly, the same survey found that nearly half of customers will be dissatisfied. And if they click away from your site that quickly, it hurts your traffic substantially.

Buyers want a swift, painless experience. Don’t give them time to second-guess their purchase or your professionalism! 

Accurate Product Information

The best product page enhancements are all about product information. Product data enhancement is the key to winning more site traffic. Attention to detail at this stage is the number one way to push customers through to purchase.

eCommerce product data includes written information, as well as images and other details. We’ve broken down how to improve each area.

Product Descriptions

Product data is everything. Potential buyers want to know every detail about your products. Data-driven product catalog management should be central to your strategy.

That goes beyond dimensions and delivery dates. An eCommerce product description should be as thorough as seeing it in person.

In a brick-and-mortar store, shoppers can pick up the product. They can feel its weight, gauge its size, and read more information on the package.

eCommerce marketplaces can combat these challenges by providing just as much information.

If any product information is missing, consumers won’t have the confidence to buy. Or they may return the product.

For online purchases, the average return rate is a staggering 20%. The problem is not just lost revenue, it’s a loss of confidence in your marketplace.

If your product descriptions do not accurately represent the product, they won’t just return it – they won’t come back. That is less site traffic from repeat customers, which leads to less organic traffic generation.

Clearly, an accurate product description is key to repeat customers, which drives organic traffic.

Accurate product data also helps your product get identified by search engines. Besides a clear description, search engines respond well to these details:

  • Global trade item numbers
  • Manufacturer part numbers
  • Brand names
  • Stock keeping unit numbers

Consistently structured product data is also helpful for both search engines and consumers. On every product page, data should appear in the same order and in the same places, so people know where to look. 

This is especially important if several stocked products are relatively similar. Their differences and unique identifiers should be clear enough that customers and search engines can distinguish between them.

High-Quality Images

Good images are just as important to consumers as good data. Bad images, or worse, none at all, reflect badly on your business. If you can’t provide several high-quality images from a variety of angles, buyers jump to questioning your authenticity.

Your goal should be to provide enough images that users feel they’ve seen the product in person. That will give them the confidence to buy and come back in the future.

Visible Product Reviews

Reviews add to your site’s verifiability. In fact, nearly 90% of customers surveyed said that they read reviews before purchasing a product online. The same survey found that even more than 90% of people trust reviews as much as recommendations from people they know.

Make sure it’s easy to leave a review so that previous buyers do so.

Include an image option with reviews so that buyers can upload images alongside them. These candid review images add to buyer confidence even more than professional ones.

Buyers are also interested in your responses to reviews. If any customer leaves a negative review with a complaint, you may want to respond to save face.

According to the survey mentioned earlier, these business responses are read by and are important to nearly 60% of customers. Make sure you represent your business well and respond in the most considerate way possible.

Product Page Enhancements for Your Online Marketplace

Putting these enhancement tips into practice will win you more traffic. But working with us gets that number even higher.

Our solutions for marketplaces go beyond product data enhancements. They win more traffic by fixing attribution, removing duplicates, forecasting demand, ensuring accurate taxonomy, and creating an optimal shopper experience.

Don’t struggle through manually improving product pages in-house. Instead, let us go through your marketplace with a fine-toothed comb and find every optimization opportunity.

Book a demo with us today to learn how.

5 Marketplace Growth Opportunities to Watch for 2022

5 Marketplace Growth Opportunities to Watch for 2022

Keeping a pulse on eCommerce trends and opportunities is not an easy task as it constantly evolves with new and consistently emerging consumer demands – which has been fast-tracked today by a global pandemic.

 

The emergence of different types of online marketplaces has certainly helped to ease the influx of the online shopping shift. With many consumers being forced to buy their groceries and essentials online, this is one of many marketplace trends that will stick around for a while.

 

In fact, according to a recent Alvarez & Marsal Consumer and Retail Group survey, 85% of consumers indicated they will maintain their shopping habits post-pandemic, which bodes well for online marketplace growth.

 

As the new year is just around the corner, many eCommerce brands and sellers are likely considering where to place their bets on strategies that will boost their marketplace growth. While creating a foundation of accurate catalog data is table stakes, knowing where to focus next is key to winning with shoppers.

 

The following compilation is a shortlist of opportunities to watch, pulling from trending headlines, combined with insights from key online marketplace data:

1. Consider the Petcare Category

One of the benefits to being locked down in quarantine is families were spending more time working and learning from home, therefore giving them more time to care for pets. This brought on a surge of pet purchases and adoptions (in the UK alone, 3.2 million pets were bought during the pandemic).

 

According to Pet Gazetteonline marketplaces are the biggest opportunity of growth for petcare brands, as the sector has been shifting to digital, and it is predicted that a third of global petcare sales will be eCommerce transactions by 2026.

 

As such, beginning with an Amazon or Walmart as a launchpad is recommended as a starting point, since the petcare landscape is oversaturated with well-known brands. That said, the data shows that shoppers are mainly researching their items by product and not household brands, making it a level playing field for the category. So, as this category continues to grow, marketplaces should take note.

2. Invest in Cross-Border eCommerce

Data from eShopWorld shows that one-quarter of shoppers surveyed across 11 countries purchased apparel from websites outside of their home market in 2020 (rising even higher among Gen Z and Millennials).

 

This trend goes to show the importance of investing in and offering cross-border eCommerce capabilities, especially for the clothing, footwear and children’s apparel retailers/categories online. The international momentum is still high making the total for cross-border eCommerce up 74% year-over-year for the first four months of 2021.

 

As such, having the right global and cross-platform strategy is key for capitalizing on this growth-area. Ensure to invest in the right data to help fuel this cross-platform/cross-border strategy to take advantage of this new international shopper.

3. Prepare for Longer Holiday Seasons

Data from many online marketplaces showed that consumers started their holiday shopping much earlier than ever before and simultaneously increased their use of online marketplaces. The ongoing supply chain disruptions have prompted consumers to start their research and purchasing earlier so as not to be let down by inventory issues or shipping delays.

 

The once Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale anticipation has now stretched to a longer holiday season, and the average consumer still plans to conduct most of his or her shopping online, even with the reopening of brick-and-mortar retail stores.

 

“As a result of supply chain disruptions and unpredictable product availability, global consumers are starting their holiday shopping earlier than ever before and using online shopping to avoid disappointment,” according to Adrien Nussenbaum, co-founder and co-CEO of Mirakl. “The data from our Holiday Shopping Snapshot offers proof that many of the temporary behavioral changes originally brought on by the global pandemic are becoming permanent. In particular, shoppers are increasing their use of online marketplaces to help reduce costs and ensure gifts arrive on time, with marketplaces seeing the greatest gains among frequent shoppers.”

 

Knowing what high-demand products to promote, and at the most competitive prices, will be imperative to keeping up with the longer shopping season at least until the supply chain regulates itself again (remember: it’s a marathon, not a sprint).

4. Look to Luxury

While many shoppers flock to online marketplaces for good bargains, the luxury sector has also seen a surge brought on by COVID-19, shutting down travel for destination shopping experiences. But translating that journey into a virtual experience has helped with an uptick in growth.

 

According to Forbes, Farfetch serves more than 190 countries and territories with an average order in the first quarter of 2021 totaling $618, with a digital platform GMV growth up 60% year-over-year. Other luxury brands on the marketplace bandwagon include Net-A-Porter and Matches Fashion, using more strategic ways to profit from omnichannel retail.

 

What’s more, Bain & Company projects that as much as one-third of all personal luxury purchases will take place digitally by 2025, with revenues reaching an estimated $136 billion. In order to take advantage of this growth opportunity, fostering product discovery to drive sales is key in luxury.

5. Keep Up with Emerging Competition

Many large and well-known brands having been struggling to keep their doors open resulting in talks of splitting up: separating the brick-and-mortar footprint from the eCommerce business. Most recently, Macy’s has been on the fence about it, attracting a lot of attention, however Fortune reports that “An online only Macy’s would need to work incredibly hard to differentiate itself against Amazon and many other players.”

 

Macy’s is not the only one to watch: Kohl’s and Saks have been reporting a similar story, and most recently Giant Food has launched an eCommerce marketplace featuring non-grocery products. Whether some of these splits will be cause for concern for marketplace competition, only time will tell if they can compete with the likes of Amazon, Walmart, or eBay, etc.

 

How can online marketplaces get ahead of the competitive landscape? The answer is in the data. By having real-time insights at their fingertips, marketplace leaders can build a catalog that can be trusted, with the right power sellers to overcome any competition. It’s a win-win-win for marketplaces, sellers, and shoppers alike.

Recommendations

Use key product data to know where to expand next, whether it be in petcare or luxury items. Look to high-demand products at the most competitive pricing and know when to offer the right promotions to remain top-of-mind. While the marketplace industry may seem oversaturated at times, building the right backend product data catalog is essential to keep up. Then, invest in a cross-border, cross-platform strategy – agility is critical to survival in a constantly changing eCommerce landscape.  

 

Scaling an online marketplace for success can feel like a major undertaking, but with the right canonical catalog as a foundation, and an eye on the right real-time data, seizing the next big opportunity can help marketplaces continue to thrive without signs of slowing down.

7 Tips To Recruit Power Sellers to Your Marketplace

If you’re looking to create a multi-vendor eCommerce marketplace, one of the most important things to consider is how to attract the right vendors to your marketplace.

Although eCommerce marketplaces can be incredibly lucrative, recruiting sellers for your marketplace can be extremely competitive. 

However, if you want to attract thousands of shoppers to your marketplace each day, you must give them what they want — quality sellers. And that means you must have a top-notch seller recruitment strategy.

Here are seven tips to help you figure out how to get vendors to sell on your website:

1. Contact eCommerce sellers on top eCommerce marketplaces

When you’re putting together your seller network, contact merchants on eBay, Facebook, or Amazon that meet the needs of your shoppers. More often than not, these sellers would love the chance for added publicity and likely would agree to also sell their services or products on your marketplace. 

2. How to find a seller offline

Reaching out to sellers via social media and other online marketplaces is a great idea; however, in-person meetings are also highly effective. Today, more organizations are again holding-in-person events after holding virtual-only events during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, you should take every opportunity to connect with vendors at meetings of merchant associations, trade fairs, and other offline events. After you get to know sellers at these events, add them to your social media contact list or send them emails to keep in touch and discuss collaboration prospects.

3. Offer a good user experience

A poor user experience is a major reason your target sellers would opt for Amazon rather than your marketplace so make it easy for vendors to publish and manage orders via your platform. For example, offer sellers an administration panel where they can track how many people viewed their products or service listings. You should also offer to help them publish their listings and provide 24/7 customer support. In addition, build a knowledge base to guide sellers as well as users around your platform. 

4. Employ a smart marketing strategy

A smart marketing strategy is one of the most effective methods to promote your multi-vendor marketplace platform and attract sellers. There are a number of ways you can promote your eCommerce marketplace.

For example, using social media groups, forums, and communities. Social media is a great way to connect with sellers and bring results for your business. Try posting informative and promotional messages on social networks. Regularly sharing information on social media platforms will keep sellers updated about the latest news regarding eCommerce marketplaces in general and your website in particular. Joining merchant communities and forum discussions across different social media websites and channels will also help you connect with them directly. 

5. Target ads properly

Another way to get the word out about your eCommerce marketplace and persuade merchants to join is by running Google search ads and display ads campaigns. Build ads so businesses can register on your online marketplace as sellers. You can also publish your ads on eCommerce websites.

6. Write blogs to attract vendors

Writing blog posts is another effective way to draw merchants to your multi-vendor marketplace. You can write about the successes of your current sellers, offer information about selling on eCommerce marketplaces, and other helpful business information for merchants. Post your blogs on your social media accounts as well as on your website. And you can boost your rank in Google search results by optimizing your blog posts for search engine optimization.

7. Target the right vendors at the right time

The types of merchant you want to attract to your marketplace varies according to where you are in the process. 

  • Stage 1: Launch and development: focus on finding specific merchants rather than specific products. Seek out experienced marketplace vendors with large product catalogs to ensure you’re offering buyers a large variety of good quality products.
  • Stage 2: Established marketplace: after you’ve attracted a sufficient number of experienced vendors, you need to ensure that you’re offering all the products and services that meet the needs of your buyers. Now, you can also onboard and train sellers who are less experienced to ensure they are also successful. However, you still need to keep seeking out experienced vendors to expand your eCommerce marketplace.

Conclusion

Acquiring the right vendors is a critical component of a successful eCommerce marketplace. The tips we’ve offered here will help make your eCommerce marketplace a success. However, attracting vendors is an ongoing process so you should periodically re-evaluate based on the requirements of your buyers.

The Impact of Consumer Spending on the Growth of Online Marketplaces

Updated on October 6th, 2022

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers were forced to shift their spending online. Now, even as federal, state, and local governments are lifting COVID-related restrictions, most consumers are still not planning to return to their old ways of shopping.

In fact, 85% of consumers indicated they will maintain their online shopping habits post-pandemic, according to a survey from the Alvarez & Marsal Consumer and Retail Group. 

Many of these consumers are shopping on eCommerce marketplaces, such as those operated by eBay, Amazon, and Expedia. And this shift in consumer spending is responsible for the massive online marketplace growth.

The Growth of Online Marketplaces

The marketplace trends in 2022 and beyond have been accelerated by Covid-19. More than 40% of online spending post-pandemic is taking place on eCommerce marketplaces, according to the Wunderman Thompson Commerce’s Future Shopper Report 2021. And by 2025, spending on online marketplaces will surpass spending on eCommerce websites in established retail and travel categories, according to OC&C Strategy Consultants’ Trading Places report.

Consumers are attracted to marketplaces because they offer convenience, choice, and value. And eCommerce marketplaces offer suppliers a large pool of customers as well as such value-added services as fulfillment and payments. 

This change in the shopping habits of consumers that has contributed to this marketplace growth has also caused brand owners and retailers to investigate selling on already established marketplaces, such as Amazon or eBay. 

In this case, merchants should identify the top marketplaces in their areas and determine how best to optimize for those marketplaces. Every online marketplace is also a search engine that enables consumers to search for and find the products or services that best suit their needs. Marketplace optimization lets sellers’ product listings show in relevant searches, which boosts their chances of selling their goods or services.

To capitalize on the growth of online marketplaces, some merchants are looking at setting up their own marketplaces to help them reach new consumers and new markets, as well as expand their offerings.

However, attracting sellers to eCommerce marketplaces is not an easy proposition. Business owners that aim to build their own marketplaces must identify their target audiences first, then identify the best channels to reach them. And then the operators of these marketplaces must also understand the concerns and interests of potential vendors so they can create the right messaging to recruit the right sellers.

Effectively incorporating new sellers and ensuring their ongoing satisfaction starts with a seamless marketplace onboarding process and includes ongoing customer support and easy website management. 

Types of Marketplaces

There are three main types of eCommerce marketplaces: business-to-business (B2C), business-to-consumer (B2C), and peer-to-peer (P2P).

Business-to-Business Marketplaces

A B2B marketplace connects companies (consumers) with other businesses (vendors), such as retailers, wholesalers, or manufacturers, to buy from them. This type of website enables vendors to begin delivering services much faster than if they had to develop their own e-commerce websites or open physical stores. A B2B marketplace helps sellers expand their sales channels and attract new customers.

Examples of popular B2B marketplaces include Amazon Business, Alibaba, DesignRush, Global Sources, and IndiaMART

Business-to-Consumer Marketplaces

A B2C marketplace matches individual consumers with vendors. Large B2C eCommerce marketplaces can be compared with retail stores where consumers can find multiple providers offering a variety of products. 

B2C marketplaces are the most popular marketplace model. However, the giants in the space, including Amazon, eBay, and Booking.com, are likely to maintain monopolies in the B2C marketplace for many years. As such, it may be difficult for new entrants in the market to attract millions of consumers because of this high level of competition.

To succeed in the B2C market, eCommerce companies might want to think about creating niche marketplaces that target consumers that have similar needs and preferences. 

Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces

Peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces (also known as consumer to consumer) provide platforms for individual buyers and sellers to find each other and trade goods and services

P2P marketplaces allow users to be both consumers and service providers, depending on their needs. For example, Meta (formerly Facebook Marketplace) was created to connect consumers online to sell and/or purchase new or used goods and services within their own neighborhoods. 

Conclusion

With the fundamental shift in consumer spending habits, there’s never been a better time for businesses to build B2C, B2B, or P2P online marketplaces to reach new customers and sell their products or services. 

Online marketplaces enable companies to grow beyond the limitations of their own operations and infrastructure and take their eCommerce businesses in new directions. For example, taking on upcoming channels like social commerce, cannot be ignored anymore. Social commerce currently represents only a small portion of total eCommerce sales, but rapid sales growth in this area presents a prime opportunity for online marketplaces that understand these platforms and their users.

Let’s also not forget that the holidays are fast-approaching and marketplaces need a strategy going into a new kind of holiday season – one that is slower, but steady. Regardless of where consumers are headed next, online marketplaces need to build a best-in-class product data catalog to ensure their eCommerce endeavors are successful today and in the future.